A Designer's Guide To Decorating For Christmas

What To Do First

A Designer's Guide To Decorating For Christmas
One Kind Design

You've chosen your perfect Christmas tree, but now what?

Our tips on the next pages will give you ideas for setting up your tree, lighting it, keeping it fresh, and decorating it to be beautiful.

  • Keep Your Tree Fresh and Green
    Cut the stump of the tree with a fresh cut and set it in water immediately. A fresh-cut tree will absorb several quarts of water right from the start. So it's important to check and refill the water level several times a day for the first week. You can cut down on frequency later. Be sure to place you Christmas tree in a stand that has a large water reservoir and keep it filled.


  • Christmas Tree Preservative
    You can caring for Christmas trees.


  • Putting Lights and Decorations on the Tree
    When decorating your Christmas tree, put lights on first, then garlands, then the ornaments.


  • Work From the Inside Out
    Start arranging Christmas tree lights on the branches near the base of the tree. Weave strings of lights along the branches "inside," then move to the outer edges of the branches.


  • Placement of Ornaments
    Don't hang all your ornament on the tips of the branches. Place ornaments and other decorations 'inside' your tree to add depth and interest.


  • Basic Ornaments for Fill
    Start by arranging the "filler ornaments" evenly spaced around the tree. This would include basic solid color balls that are easily found at discount stores in a wide range of colors to coordinate and enhance your decorating scheme. You'll need about 20 "filler ornaments" for every 2 feet of Christmas tree.


  • Special Themed, Collectible Ornaments
    Mix one-of-a-kind special ornaments between the basic ornaments. Plan to use at least 10 special themed ornaments for every 2 feet of tree. As your collection grows, put the special ornaments closer together.

Read About Tree Themes and Special Touches.

Read How to Make Your Own Ornaments.

Get Tips on making Budget Ornaments.

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Choose a Decorating Theme and Add Special Touches

Create a truly unique tree by adding special decorating touches.

Learn about adding garlands, nosegays, bows, and unique deocrations.

  • Choose a Christmas Tree Theme
    Spark your creativity with a color or style theme. For instance, a silver theme can use silver ribbons, silver ornaments, and garlands of silver beads. Choose the decorations according to the theme. An elegant theme would use velvet, satin, sparkles, and beads. A country theme would make use of raffia, cookie cutter ornaments, popcorn and cranberry garlands, and wooden toys.

    If you have space in your home, it's fun to put a tree in small rooms, too. Choose a small tree for the kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom, and choose a theme to coordinate with the room's decor. A tree in the kithen would look great with kitchen utensils tied on the branches with raffia or red ribbon bows. Add clumps of dried herbs for a wonderful scent in the room.

  • Too Much is a Good Thing
    You can never really have too many decorations on the tree. If they're evenly spaced and carefully selected, the more the better.

  • Add Natural Materials
    Use colorful ribbons to tie together clusters of dried flowers or small twigs. Place them between branches where some fill is needed. Use wire to attach the custers to the branches.

  • Use Silk Flowers for Color
    Trim blossoms off stems of silk flowers and lay them on the branches of your Christmas tree for a formal look. Choose blossoms in shades of the colors of your theme or choose all white for a showy effect. Place the flowers evenly around the tree on the inside and outside of branches.

  • Add Sparkle With Metallic Spray
    Preserved leaves, pinecones, and seed pods can be embellished with metallic spray paint or a sprinkling of glitter. Add just a touch for a subtle look or cover completely for a more formal effect.

  • Old-Fashioned Candles
    A Christmas tree looks quaint and old-fashioned with clip-on candles attached to the tips of branches. You should not ever light the candles, as they'd present a serious fire hazard. Choose candles in gold, white, or red.

  • Miniature Wreaths and Baskets
    Craft stores have all sorts of wreaths, seed pods, and baskets. Add colorful ribbons, greenery, or berries with a glue gun. Attach a bow or loop for hanging.

  • Ribbon Streamers
    Instead of a garland, attach holiday colored ribbons or long strands of raffia to the top branches of the tree. Wind them down and around the branches to the bottom of the tree.

  • A Crowning Glory for Your Tree
    Every traditional Christmas tree is topped by a star or angel. If you have a family heirloom, use if even if it doesn't "match" your tree decorating theme. Traditions are an important part of Christmas and what more suitable place would there be for an heirloom than the tip of your Christmas tree? If you don't have any thing special, buy or make one and wire it to the top of the tree.

Learn how to Make Your Own Christmas Ornaments.

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More Holiday Ideas  Christmas Index | Centerpieces | Choose a Tree  | DIY Projects | Guests |  |Themes | Decorating Tips | Tree Decor | Wreaths

Ideas for Making Your Own Christmas Tree Ornaments

Even ordinary glass balls can be dressed up with ribbons, bows, or glitter. Visit your local craft stores to find inspiration and materials embellish plain ornaments to make them one-of-a-kind.

  • Uniform Loops for Hanging
    In order to give your tree decorations a uniform look for your tree, replace the dangling strings and old wire hooks with ribbon, raffia, or cord loops. Spend several hours with materials and a hot glue gun, and your ornaments will really look consistent and uique.

  • Ribbons and Bows
    A simple colored Christmas tree ornament will look dressed up with a pretty bow of satin, velvet, grosgrain or sheer ribbon. Or tie a bow of raffia on the top of decorations. Use a touch of hot glue to secure the bow to the ornament.

  • Use What You Already Have
    You don't have to use traditional ornaments on the tree. Look around the house for doll house furniture, tiny teddy bears, clothes for dolls, seed pods with ribbon loops. Using wire, cord, or ribbon, attach the items to the branches of your Christmas tree. Tie everything together with a garland that unifies your theme.

  • Encrusted With Jewels
    Collect beads or crystals from vintage jewelry or craft store and decorate a plain tree ornament.

  • Get the Children Involved
    Plan a project day for your children. Purchase wooden cutouts, ribbon, glue, glitter, cording, colored paper, and rubber stamps at a craft store. Let your children create their own decorations and hang the pieces with other ornaments. Or decorate a whole small tree and place it in the child's room. Be sure to put the date on the ornaments you'll want to keep from year to year.

  • Make Your Own Garland
    Use floral vines, satin or velvet ribbon, popcorn and cranberries, or decorative cording to create an effective but simple garland. Collect small pine cones or seed pods and string them together. Get more ideas for garlands.

See some ideas for Do-It-Yourself Ornaments for Budget Christmas Tree Decorating.

[Image Credit]

More Holiday Ideas Christmas Index | Centerpieces | Choose a Tree  | DIY Projects | Guests |  |Themes | Decorating Tips | Tree Decor | Wreaths